Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2012, Chennai April 21, 2012

Chennai leave it late but down Rajasthan


Chennai Super Kings 147 for 3 (du Plessis 73) beat Rajasthan Royals 146 for 4 (Shah 52, Menaria 36) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On another sweltering day, there was another demonstration of how quickly Twenty20 games can turn. With four overs to go, Chennai Super Kings had nine wickets remaining and needed 31 runs - a one-sided game then by Twenty20 standards.

A double-strike from Kevon Cooper in the 17th over made the Chennai dressing room a little anxious, but with MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo in the middle, things were still under control. Amit Singh leaked runs in the next over, and when he bowled a legstump freebie with the fine leg up, the game again seemed over.

There were no more boundaries in the game, however, and after Cooper bowled another tight over, Karnataka allrounder Stuart bowled yorker after yorker to bring it down to two off the final delivery. Yet again, though, Dhoni showed his ice-cool temperament, whipping the last ball to deep backward square leg and haring through for the second, easily beating a poor throw from Cooper.

In Rajasthan Royals' previous match, little-known Dishant Yagnik, playing his first game of the season had come out on top against the world's best bowler, Dale Steyn. This time, the unheralded Binny, also playing his first game of the season, nearly pulled it off against the world's best finisher. Binny who hadn't batted in the game and was trusted with only one over before the climactic one, produced one of the best final overs of the season, but was left distraught and on his knees, to be consoled by his captain and state-mate Rahul Dravid.

There were many similarities in the two innings.

Nuwan Kulasekara had earlier produced an outstanding final over, and given away just eight in two death overs to limit Royals to a moderate score. Kulasekara's tactic was to generally bowl full and wide, which the batsmen found hard to slog.

Before Kulasekara, Chennai's spinners had put the skids on the scoring after Royals openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid, had made a bright start. Royals had raced to 32 off four overs before R Ashwin intervened. He had Rahane chipping to mid-off and gave away only four in his first two overs. Then left-arm spinners Shadab Jakati and Ravindra Jadeja gave little away in the middle of the innings.

For the Royals also, it was their spinner who choked the runs after a decent start from Super Kings. Brad Hogg made his international debut nearly 16 years ago, but few - if any - batsmen are able to pick his wrong 'un even now. That variation accounted for S Badrinath, and the guessing game Hogg forced the batsmen to play gave him figures of 4-0-18-1.

Royals' batting had revolved around Owais Shah, a player who is having his first successful season in the IPL. He reached his third half-century of the tournament, but it lacked the fluency and big-hitting of his previous two efforts. Shah's constant shuffling around in the crease, though, brought him reward in the 15th over, as Jadeja fluffed his lines trying to double-guess the batsmen. Two wides for four, and a six over extra cover gave Royals 22 off the over. When Ashok Menaria, Shah's partner for much of the innings, launched Bravo for a six and a four in the 17th, the big onslaught finally seemed on. Kulasekara, though, scuttled Royals' hopes of crossing 150.

The cornerstone of Super Kings' batting was also a half-century from one of their players enjoying his first fruitful IPL season. Faf du Plessis got his third fifty in four matches and moved to within 18 runs of getting the orange cap from Rahane. When he and the IPL's highest run-getter, Suresh Raina, were in the middle, the chase seemed straightforward and the vocal crowd incessantly chanting "CSK, CSK" would hardly have expected the tension-filled finale.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • venkat on April 23, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    @pai11 it is irrelevant who you support. You have no meaningful response for my and @mathewjohn2176's comment that Mumbai is no different from CSK in terms of fielding just one uncapped player in their team. Regarding Delhi and CSK's "national team" players, there is simply no comparison. There are only four sure national team players in the current CSK team -- Dhoni, Raina, Ashwin, and Bravo (and Mike Hussey when he shows up ... but his role in T20I is actually quite debatable). The likes of Jadeja and A.Morkel are not sure bets. (e.g., Albie was actually dropped from SA for the ODI world cup). DD on the other hand have numerous super stars -- Sehwag, KP, Mahela, Ross Taylor, M.Morkel (and David Warner when he shows up). They also have I.Pathan. DD are so stocked up on superstars that sure national team players like Bracewell, Russell, van der Merwe, and Ingram are on the bench. Yet they can't beat a limping Ganguly on a walker. A team of superstars not a winning team make!!

  • Venkat on April 23, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Its no use supporting IPL if team India is going to be beaten even by Bangaladesh in away tournaments. For example the way Rohit Sharma and Munaf Patel are playing and throwing themselves around the field, had they shown even 1% of the same commitment for the national team, then we might not have lost so many matches.

  • shailesh on April 23, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    @MathewsJohn2176: bro just realise the context in which i told it before countering it. my point was a counter to TheUltimateTruth which in fact was a counter to AnkushJangid unless you read all this, you will not realise the proper context...

  • shailesh on April 23, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    @TheUltimateTruth: once again your point does not match up mate.. You have given example of DD playing 6 international caps who are sure to represent their national teams. lets look at CSK then... Dhoni, jadeja, Raina, Ashwin, Bravo, Kulasekara. And A. Morkel & Hussey for sure when they are available... thats definitely 6!! and by the way I dont care if MI loses mate. in fact I will be more than happy. Coz i want the over-hyped teams to lose. (and for your information I support DD mate)

  • Dummy4 on April 23, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    keep on winning gud luck chennai

  • mathew on April 22, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    @pai11 your coment is irrelevant by mentioning about MI playing only 3 foreign players.Look at the local players for mumbai Indians except rayudu all played international matches.Last year Champions league,MI played five foreign players and won !!!! CSK I bet wont even think of that!!!

  • venkat on April 22, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @pai11 Of course I understand @Ankush Jangid's point. He is technically correct (otherwise I would have said so), but my argument was he is wrong in the spirit of his point. That's the "unfair" part. Many of the CSK players are capped players but that doesn't make them better than many of the uncapped players. As an extreme example if CSK were to play Joginder Sharma and Mumbai were to play Rayudu are you seriously going to tell me that CSK is at an advantage over Mumbai because they are playing a player with international experience in Joginder (i.e., capped player), while Rayudu is uncapped? Regarding Delhi, they played Sehwag, Mahela, KP, Ross Taylor, I.Pathan, and M. Morkel are you telling me this contingent is weaker than CSK's just because Delhi also played a few uncapped players? All I am saying to you and Ankush is don't go by uncapped vs. capped that's a silly comparison. And, not to rub salt on your wounds, Mumbai sucked today and Rayudu was their only uncapped player.

  • shailesh on April 22, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    @TheUltimateTruth: also you might not have observed that MI are playing only 3 foreign players!!!! CSK i bet wont even think of that!!!!!!!!

  • shailesh on April 22, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    @The UltilateTruth: your counter against Ankush is wrong. he just meant uncapped players. he is spot on in that observation. and even considering your counter argument, your observation on DD is wrong again!! they played Nagar, Nadeem, negi (uncapped), N.Ojha, A.Agarkar who are not part of international teams.

  • venkat on April 22, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Ankush Jangid -- the "international team" comment is an unfair one. Many of the CSK players such as Faf, Badri, Vijay, Saha, Morkel, Bollinger, and of course Jakati, and to some extent even Jadeja are not regularly in their respective countries' international T20 teams. A bunch of have beens and wannabes don't make an international team. Only Dhoni, Raina, Ashwin, and Bravo are the regulars -- compare that to Delhi or Mumbai teams for example. In fact, I just saw the teams announced for today's Mumbai-Punjab game and in the Mumbai team there is only one non-international player, Rayudu. CSK knows how to win with what they got, and that's just a fact. I expect them to be very competitive again this year.

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